He Heckled a District Attorney on TV. Now He Faces 10 Years Behind Bars.

On Wednesday morning, Joao DePina will walk into a Massachusetts courthouse to learn whether he could face the possibility of spending a decade behind bars.

His alleged crime? Heckling a district attorney from afar during a live press conference.

DePina repeatedly interrupted then-Suffolk County D.A. Rachael Rollins during a November press conference to criticize Rollins’ professional and personal behavior. His shouts were picked up on local news broadcasts, and Rollins paused on several occasions to ask DePina to stop interrupting her attempt to give an update on two cops who had been shot earlier that day. DePina also livestreamed his tirade, during which he criticized Rollins’ nomination to be a U.S. attorney (she was confirmed to the post in December, becoming the first black woman to be U.S. attorney for Massachusetts).

While DePina’s behavior during the press conference was clearly uncivil and rude, prosecutors say it’s also criminal. DePina was charged in November with one count of witness intimidation in connection to his antics at Rollins’ press conference. He could face between 2.5 and 10 years in prison if convicted.

“This is the most grossly unconstitutional thing I have seen in my entire career,” Marc Randazza, a free speech attorney who is representing DePina, tells Reason. “If the First Amendment means anything, Joao walks free.”

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UK government wants to limit online protest organization, introduce ankle monitors for disruptive protesters

The Home Office has proposed a new Public Order Bill that includes “serious disruption prevention orders.” The bill would give the police the ability to electronically tag disruptive protesters and limit where they can go, who they can meet, and what they can do online and in real life, regardless of whether they have committed a crime.

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

The bill would also make locking-on (where protesters lock themselves onto parts of buildings) a criminal offense. Also, disrupting transport works and national infrastructure would be a criminal offense.

The UK’s proposals came months after Canada used extreme emergency powers on Freedom Convoy protesters, including freezing bank accounts, earlier this year, and ahead of a cost of living crisis in the UK that many feel could spur protests.

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Busted: Disinformation Operative Who Attacked Elon Musk’s Push for “Free Speech” Caught Red-Handed in Secret Influence Operation

It is not yet clear whether Elon Musk’s increasingly precarious play for Twitter will result in the restoration of free speech in the “global public square.” Successful or not, Elon’s brave move has clarified beyond any doubt the Regime’s fundamental hostility to free speech and dissent. Judging from the critical reactions from journalists, NGOs and Democrat politicians, you’d think the man were attempting to invade Poland rather than remove censorship on a social media platform.

Of all the regime scribblers and scribes flooding the internet with glorified blog posts on the awfulness of Elon Musk’s Twitter bid, a piece by Renée DiResta published in the Atlantic stands out from the rest — not because of its force of argument, but because of the largely forgotten scandal behind its author.

Like the now disgraced and jobless Nina Jankowicz, DiResta is a career-girl of the Disinformation Industry — a constellation of NATO and US State Department-funded NGOs and civil society groups that censor inconvenient truths, facts and narratives under the guise of protecting the public from so-called “disinformation.” And like Nina Jankowicz, it turns out that DiResta’s name is closely associated with one of the most explosive and aggressively covered-up influence operations of the century.

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House passes antisemitism resolution calling for surveillance and censorship of online content

The House of Representatives has voted to pass a resolution that calls for increased surveillance and censorship of online speech, to help reduce antisemitism.

The resolution goes beyond condemning antisemitism; it goes into the realm of calling on social media platforms to do more to stop it.

We obtained a copy of the resolution for you here.

The resolution calls on social media platforms to “institute stronger and more significant efforts to measure and address online antisemitism” and, like most resolutions of this kind, pays lip-service to the idea of “protecting free speech concerns,” without providing details on how this is possible.

The resolution also calls for the house to work “in tandem with the cross-party Inter-parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Anti- semitism to help craft thoughtful global initiatives designed to address online antisemitism.”

The resolution names platforms specifically, saying there has been an uptick in “antisemitic language, conspiracy theories, and hatred has increased on multiple social media platforms—from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and TikTok.”

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican, was the only member of the House that recognized the implications of government once again trying to insert themselves into moderation on online platforms and voted against the bill on free speech grounds.

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Nancy Pelosi says there needs to be a “balance” to free speech

In the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went on ABC to advocate for “balance between free speech and safety.” She did not specify how this balance might be achieved, or who would have the last word in defining it.

Seemingly suggesting that suppressing free speech to some (unspecified) extent would be the way to go in dealing with cases of extreme violence, this US official made it clear that it was once again social media that politicians would like to see moderate and censor even more than they do now.

Speaking on Sunday, the Democrat also complained that it is impossible for her party to carry out its gun control proposals in the Senate, and urged “vigilance” among the population, encouraging people to report others to the authorities in case somebody is suspected of being “on a path” to committing acts of violence.

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Get Ready to Be Muzzled: The Coming War on So-Called Hate Speech

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech.”—Benjamin Franklin

Beware of those who want to monitor, muzzle, catalogue and censor speech.

Especially be on your guard when the reasons given for limiting your freedoms end up expanding the government’s powers.

In the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, carried out by an 18-year-old gunman in military gear allegedly motivated by fears that the white race is in danger of being replaced, there have been renewed calls for social media monitoring, censorship of flagged content that could be construed as dangerous or hateful, and limitations on free speech activities, particularly online.

As expected, those who want safety at all costs will clamor for more gun control measures (if not at an outright ban on weapons for non-military, non-police personnel), widespread mental health screening of the general population and greater scrutiny of military veterans, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more surveillance cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do random bag searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more surveillance of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time.

All of these measures play into the government’s hands.

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The intolerance of free speech in higher education

Emory Law School’s Student Bar Association recently refused to recognize a free speech debate group because open discussions may spark “harm” and potentially “give rise to a precarious environment.”

As an alumnus of Emory Law, the decision was especially disappointing — but not surprising — and thankfully, overturned.

But a similar instance of an Emory University group retaliating against protected free speech came in October 2020, during the first year of my attending Emory Law’s Juris Master program.

The Emory University College Republicans hosted Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.”

A “safe space” was established by Black and Latino groups at the university, seeking to “express their reaction to what McDonald had to say,” according to a post by the Emory NAACP.

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Panicked CNN Guest Wonders “How We’re Going To Control The Channels Of Communications In This Country”

A CNN talking head declared Sunday that if Elon Musk is allowed to buy Twitter, the platform will have to be government regulated to prevent ‘discourse’ being open and free, and not subject to establishment controlled censorship.

While discussing the Musk take-over on CNN’s potato time with Brain Stelter, “media analyst” David Zurawik proclaimed that Musk is “dangerous” and shouldn’t be allowed to restore free speech on the platform.

Zurawik suggested that the U.S. look to Europe, which has recently brought in new laws to limit social media, and even threatened to ban Twitter if Musk doesn’t play ball.

“There’s a bigger problem here about how we’re going to control the channels of communications in this country,” Zurawik frothed, panicking at the notion of the likes of CNN not being able to dictate what Americans think.

“This is dangerous! We can’t think anymore in this country!” Zurawik whined, adding “I’m serious! We don’t have people in Congress who can make regulations, that can make it work.”

“I think we can look to the Western countries in Europe for how they are trying to limit it. But you need controls on this,” the talking slap head continued.

“You need regulation. You cannot let these guys control discourse in this country or we are headed to hell,” Zurawik further suggested.

“We are there,” he added, further claiming that “Trump opened the gates of hell and now they’re chasing us down.”

“We gave over what amounts to our airwaves or our internet waves to Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, and we are in so much trouble because those guys believe in making money,” he said.

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Time writer knocks free speech as an ‘obsession of the mostly white, male members of the tech elite’ like Musk

In a Friday piece for Time magazine, the outlet’s national correspondent Charlotte Alter dismissed Elon Musk’s quest for free speech on Twitter as a white male “obsession,” and merely an entrepreneurial way to acquire influence and power in the world.

She also claimed that Musk’s idea of free speech is about the right to spread “disinformation” and has nothing to do with the Founding Fathers’ original intent.

Alter began her piece by insinuating that Musk should have put his $44 billion into something more worthwhile than what he sees as “free speech,” a phrase she put in scare quotes throughout the piece.

She wrote, “They say that something is worth what someone will pay for it. If that’s true, then protecting ‘free speech,’ which Elon Musk has cited as a central reason he agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion this week, may be worth twice as much as solving America’s homelessness problem, and seven times as much as solving world hunger.”

She added, “It’s worth more (to him, at least) than educating every child in nearly 50 countries, more than the GDP of Serbia, Jordan, or Paraguay.”

The author then proceeded to wonder why a rich techie like Musk would even care about freedom of speech and how it “had become paramount concern of the techno-moral universe.”

She asked, “Why does Musk care so much about this? Why would a guy who has pushed the boundaries of electric-vehicle manufacturing and plumbed the limits of commercial space flight care about who can say what on Twitter?”

She then cited professor of communication at Stanford University Fred Turner for the answer, who agreed, “It does seem to be a dominant obsession with the most elite.” He stated, “[F]ree speech seems to be much more of an obsession among men,” and part of “the entrepreneurial push: I did it in business, I did it in space, and now I’m going to do it in the world.

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